Spaniard Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) was the big winner on Mont Zoncolan on Saturday, taking the victory and moving up into third place overall in the Giro d’Italia at the end of a shortened high mountains stage.
Behind him, Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank) put in another strong climbing performance to place second and stave off a grimly-determined ride from Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) on the upper slopes of the crowd-packed Zoncolan.
Michele Scarponi (Lampre-ISD) suffered from an unfortunately-timed chain slip after being dropped by Contador and Nibali. He came home in fourth, 31 seconds behind Nibali and 1-11 behind stage winner Anton.
Contador still safely leads the race with a sizeable three minute and 20 second advantage over Nibali, with third-placed Anton now just one second behind Nibali.
Although it did little to take the sting out of Zoncolan, the stage routing was changed literally at the last minute by race organisers. On Friday night, the decision was made to exclude the controversial Crostis climb from stage 14 and replace it with the Tualis climb. But during the racing, this replacement climb itself was removed in response to threats of protest by fans disgruntled that the Crostis had been originally excluded.
On the Zoncolan, the vociferous crowd could be heard booing Contador as he dropped home favourite Nibali in the final kilometre.
On Sunday the riders face another tough stage in the mountains, a 229km trip from Conegliano to Gardeccia Val di Fassa again featuring a mountain-top finish.
Giro d’Italia 2011, stage 14: Lienz to Monte Zoncolan
1. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi in 5-04-26
2. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard at 33 secs
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 40 secs
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 1-11
5. Denis Menchov (Rus) Geox-TMC at 1-21
Overall classification after stage 14
1. Alberto Contador (Spa) Saxo Bank-Sungard
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 3-20
3. Igor Anton (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 3-21
4. Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD at 4-06
5. John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r La Mondiale at 5-23
6. Kanstantsin Sivtsov (Blr) HTC-Highroad at 5-37
Race leader Alberto Contador
Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali climb Zoncolan
Igor Anton takes the stage win
Giro d’Italia 2011: Latest news
Controversial Crostis climb removed from Giro route
Sky leader Lofkvist loses more time at the Giro
Giro contenders struggle with Contador’s dominance
Contador widens Giro advantage but Tour doping case waits
Porte reflects, one year after Giro success
Le Mevel goes on attack for Giro’s pink jersey
Giro fines Contador for missing press conference
Cavendish responds to ‘team car’ accusations at Giro
Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 15)
Giro’s Sicilian cyclists proud to face Mount Etna
Contador surprises at Giro with attack ahead of mountains
Contador minds food at Giro as CAS decision nears
Weening supported by Rabobank and model Kroes
Local lad Appollonio bears fruit in Fiuggi
Giro d’Italia News Shorts (May 12 edition)
Blythe finding way in second Grand Tour
Leopard-Trek withdraws from Giro d’Italia
Leopard-Trek uncertain to continue in Giro
Tuesday’s Giro stage in memory of Weylandt
Giro doctor describes actions to save Weylandt
Wouter Weylandt killed in Giro crash
Giro news shorts (May 8)
Cavendish likely to take Giro lead tomorrow
Giro 2011: Who will win?
Giro d’Italia 2011: Stage reports
Giro d’Italia 2011: Photo galleries
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage seven photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson
Giro d’Italia 2011: Live text coverage
Giro d’Italia 2011: Start list
Giro d’Italia 2011: TV schedule